Ahead-of-Timing Model

“I love deadlines,” said The Hitchhiker ‘s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams. “I love the whistling sound they make as they walk by.” Here’s a trick for thinking about long-term deadlines based on minor spoilers for the horror movie It Follows .

The premise of ” It Follows” , as shown in several scenes of the film, is that an invincible monster follows the hero. If he reaches her, he will kill her. It moves slowly, slowly, like a step, but it never stops.

Every minute she sleeps, the monster is approaching. If she ever wants to rest, she needs to get away first. She can pass the monster’s curse on to someone else, but if the monster kills him, it will return to her as well.

If such a monster followed you, what would you do? Would you wait until the last second to escape? Or would you get stuck on the other side of the world and keep a close eye on when you need to run again, making sure the monster never comes into view?

You can see how this applies to your deadlines. Every time you get or set a deadline, you get a monster. Failure to meet this deadline probably won’t kill you, but it will hurt you, regardless of whether the word “hurt” means “bad about yourself” or “lose your job.” So why wait until the last second to get away from the monster?

Unlike the monster in It Follows , you can permanently cancel the deadline by completing it. You can delegate this task, but it is better to entrust it to another person. Because if they fail, it will likely reflect on you as well.

“Get your work done well before the deadline” is not a new idea, but it helps some of us to present our deadlines as a terrible curse. Go there and kill this monster before it kills you.


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